The first place Rangers come to Angel Stadium on Friday to begin a three game series. And while the Rangers (83-57) will be using the month of September to try to lock up the American League West title, the Angels (62-77) will use the last month of the season to test out players and pitchers for next year. But even though most Halo players will be playing for, well…playing time next year, we still have 23 games to go and a series to play so let’s take a look at what to watch for in the series with the Rangers.
1. How high can Mike Trout get his On Base Percentage this year?
Mike Trout is having another MVP caliber year, leading the team in most offensive categories including batting average, stolen bases, and on base percentage. In fact Trout’s OBP of .442 currently lands him atop the Angels all time list. If he can raise his OBP 20 more points, he will find himself in the top 100 for MLB all time for single season OBP. Starting with this series against the Rangers, if Trout can cut out a few strikeouts and add a few walks, Trout will be on his way to the top of another all time Angels list.
…and three more home runs and six more stolen bases for a 30/30 year.
2. Daniel Wright Makes His Angels Debut on Saturday
The Angels claimed the right hander off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds on September 4 and now looks to throw his first big league pitch since June 13th and become the 15th different starting pitcher for the Angels this year. At only 25 years old, Wright is still young and has had a few decent years pitching in the minors including a 14-7 record in 2014 split between A and A+ ball. If he can get a strong start Saturday evening, Daniel Wright may earn himself a few more starts and put himself in the picture for the rotation next year.
3. Will the Angels Score any Runs Against the Three Starting Rangers Pitchers?
The three starting pitchers that the Angels face in this series have a combined record of 25-10. Colby Lewis is coming off the disabled list, making his first start since June 21st but was 6-1 before straining his right lat muscle. In his last six games, Yu Darvish is 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA. Cole Hamels has been the ace of the staff all year going 14-5 with 175 strikeouts. Hamels also has six no decisions when giving up three earned runs or less so with a little more run support, Hamels would be pushing 20 wins and be a candidate for the CY Young Award. The Angels will have a tough time putting runs on the board against the Rangers top three pitchers this weekend.
In the remaining games, the Angels players have an opportunity to perform well and leave a good impression on Mike Scioscia and the rest of the organization for next year.